Motorsports: Quaker State 400
July, 14, 2011
By Kurt Busch | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Ed ReinkeKyle Busch's win at the Quaker State 400 salvaged a victory for the family this week.This past weekend was the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. We started the week off with an extra practice day on Thursday, which was great because we were able to get some critical track data.
Friday hosted more practice and qualifying, and it looked like we were going to get the NASCAR Pole, but rain canceled qualifying. The start order was then based on practice times, which meant my car would be starting in the No. 3 position. I ended up leading the first lap under green flag conditions which was a neat feeling for this inaugural event.
As the race settled in we knew we were a top five car and just needed to be in a better position at the end of the race to take home the win. However, towards the end of the race the rear of the car was sliding around too much in order to put together a strong run so we faded to ninth. There are so many great teams in NASCAR right now, and they took advantage of this to pass us.
My brother, Kyle Busch, took home the checkered flag for the Quaker State 400. I'm happy he was able to win the race and it bring it home for our family, but I would of course have loved to conclude the night in Gatorade Victory Lane and bring the win home for my team and sponsors. Kyle has been tough to beat all season, and that is why he's the NASCAR Sprint Cup series point's leader.
We don't get too many Sunday's off during the NASCAR season, so on Sunday I had a bunch of family and friends in town and we spent the day at Lake Norman. I got a game of golf in while talking business and I was also fortunate enough to be invited to a summer Navy Seal Camp that brings in inner city kids -- a lot from the Chicago area actually. I spoke with the kids about following your passions and that with hard work you can become anything you want to be.
This week I'll be at zMAX drag strip doing some testing with a 1970 and a 1972 Dodge Challenger before heading to Canada with Kyle for a late model race at Delaware Speedway. The testing we're doing at zMax is being filmed for a show that will air later this summer on Direct TV. The show will give a behind-the-scenes look at what drivers do during the week when they're away from the track. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the show's producer.
With the Home Run Derby taking place this past week, I know there's a lot of chatter about who Chicago's ‘Home Run King' is so I thought I'd share my two cents. I grew up when Ryne Sandberg played second base and he would fire off home runs. Andre Dawson -- "The Hawk" -- was a great outfielder who could hit some homers, and of course Sammy Sosa when he was rifling off all those home runs. Sandberg, Dawson and Sosa are some of my favorite Cubs to hit the long ball, but if I had to pick a ‘Home Run King' it would have to be Sandberg.
Like any football fan, I'm waiting to see how this NFL lockout will unfold. The only time I can recall something similar in the world of racing and NASCAR was when Talladega Speedway first came onto the circuit in 1969 and some of the top drivers boycotted the race because they felt it was too dangerous. There is no union in NASCAR so NASCAR said, “That's fine, we'll find other drivers to race,” and that's exactly what they did.
For me personally, I think it's important to muscle it up and get out there to race for the fans, no matter who's making money. Bottom line is it's about entertaining the fans and putting on a good race.
Well, I'm off to have some fun and do some testing with the 1970 and 1972 Challengers. I'll talk to you all next week!